For us it’s a great opportunity. The best young graduates can shake us up and inspire us with their enthusiasm and new ways of seeing and doing things. Indeed, most of the designers at WMH started out as placements and made themselves so invaluable that they became full timers, myself included.
We try to give our placements a good mix of jobs and experience. We put them on live jobs, from Stage1 concepts for a new logo, to rolling out a new brand across several platforms. There is also the obligatory tea making and board cutting. Before those recent graduates amongst you yawn, at WMH we value tea making almost as much as that scamp sheet filled with potential yellow pencil ideas on it. It says you’re willing to be part of a team, whether tea making or concept creating and willing to put time and effort into every part of your placement experience. We expect a lot from our placements, in terms of enthusiasm and work ethic.
So how do these graduate get in? With PDF portfolios coming in ten to the dozen how does a graduate stand out from the crowd? Don’t do what everybody else does. Good work, with good ideas is always going to rise to the top, but it doesn’t hurt to create something that’s really going to catch our attention.
We really lament the decline of post and placement mailers. With the rise of copy and paste emails fired off to the top 20 London agencies, it’s become a forgotten mode of communication. Why not whet the appetite of the agency you hope to work at? Over the years we’ve had lots of fun ideas; late night working survival kits, placement tea vouchers even back scratchers (you scratch mine, I’ll scratch yours). It’s all about having a good idea that gets us excited. From this a graduate will get through the door to show their folio, perhaps do a placement, and who knows, even get a job?
Placements are an integral part to the design industry, keeping established designers on their toes, producing new and exciting work and helping studios keep new blood in their agencies. Long live them!
If you want to see this year’s crop, then I recommend you going to D&AD New Blood exhibition at Old Spitalfields Market. You do need to register here.